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Single parents in Michigan need to take estate plan steps

While it is important for everyone to outline exactly what their wishes are for their assets and minor children, it is particularly important for single parents to ensure no stone goes unturned when legally outlining what their wishes are in the event of their passing. Michigan parents who are raising children on their own must take steps to create a comprehensive estate plan. The fate of assets is on the line, and, more importantly, the fates of any minor children are on the line also.

If there is another parent who can step in as guardian, that person may raise the children and be responsible for any assets the children inherit from the other parent. While ensuring the children are raised by the surviving parent may be the right decision, the ownership of assets belonging to the other parent might not be. These assets can be controlled by another party, such as another family member, or put into a trust controlled by another party.

Take inheritance into consideration when estate planning

One of the biggest concerns many people have when it is time to begin the estate planning process is what to leave their children, namely adult children. When deciding on what to do as far as an inheritance is concerned, there are numerous options. Michigan families have several approaches they may wish to consider to construct a fair and effective estate plan.

It has been estimated that over half the retirees in the United States plan to leave an inheritance averaging more than $176,000. This kind of inheritance plan necessitates forethought and careful consideration. While leaving adult children an equal amount is typically the norm, splitting an inheritance equally may not work for some families because of specific issues with one or more adult child. One option to avoid chaos or mismanagement of an inheritance is have an executor and a last will and testament in place.

Real estate transactions require specialized support in Michigan

A real estate transaction is typically the largest and most expensive transaction most people ever encounter. With so much at stake, it only makes sense to give all real estate transactions the specialized attention required to ensure legality and fairness and to ensure the rights of all involved protected before, during and after the deal is closed. Protection during a real estate transaction is not just one-sided either as both parties in Michigan need protection as the deal unfolds.

There are issues that can derail a real estate transaction before anyone sits down to sign on the dotted line. The inspection that takes place before the property changes hands can be a real sticking point and may require legal assistance. If unexpected issues are found during the inspection, such as hazardous materials, there has to be a plan going forward. Without legal support and the understanding of options, this kind of situation can result in one party not getting a fair resolution or footing the bills for a resolution he or she should not have.

An estate plan can protect Michigan businesses

Business creators work tirelessly to ensure success, but that may all be in vain if proper provisions are not in place to protect the business later on. An appropriate estate plan covers both personal and business interests. Michigan business owners can benefit from creating an estate plan specifically for the business they have worked to see successful.

A buy-sell agreement is one tool that is commonly used in these situations. It gives  one owner the right to purchase the other owner's interest automatically in the event the other owner dies. This can prevent children or other family members from being forced upon business partners, which may be particularly important in situations where the deceased partner's surviving family member/s do not want to or know how to run the business.

Landlord/tenant dispute finally results in eviction

For one landlord in another state, the fight to get tenants legally evicted was a long and complicated process. The landlord/tenant dispute took months to resolve and no less than 10 court appearances. Michigan landlords may benefit from understanding how the case unfolded and what procedures finally ended the ordeal.

The dispute began when two tenants rented a three bed-room apartment from a man. The tenants then proceeded to embark on extensive renovations to the apartment. They eventually converted the space into a 10 bedroom apartment. They rented out these small spaces for $35 a night and targeted short-term renters.

Ways to avoid conflict with kids and an estate plan

The idea of leaving children an even amount of funds or assets in the event of a parent's passing may seem natural and an easy decision for parents to make. However, real life issues and varying family situations can make it a challenge to avoid conflict between adult children and parents as those parents embark on the process of creating an estate plan. There are tips to help Michigan families navigate this sensitive subject and minimize the potential for conflict.

It is important for parents creating an estate plan, or who have already created one, to know exactly what there is to split. All financial matters should be known, and significant changes to those finances should warrant updating an existing plan. Any plan should represent the current situation. Also, any varying situation between adult children may make an even split unmanageable or unfair in some way.

Management of vacation property can cause landlord/tenant issues

A real estate transaction or management arrangement can lead to a dispute among the parties involved for any number of reasons. While leases and purchase agreements are typically pretty clear about management details and property matters in Michigan, any discord can result in a dispute that requires legal support or guidance. Landlord/tenant matters, including vacation property disputes, can turn into time-consuming and costly endeavors without experienced and focused legal guidance.

One area that requires legal support is the overall management of an investment property, such as a vacation property. Agreements need to be drawn up that protect and guard against any potential landlord/tenant dispute. For example, the issue of who is responsible for specific areas of maintenance of the property must be clear. Assigning responsibility for repairs is an important aspect of vacation property management that has to be addressed.

Estate plan: a need for people of all income levels

As many Michigan readers know, estate planning is often associated with people who are wealthy or possess valuable assets. In reality, an estate plan is a practical and beneficial step for people of all income levels. Anything that a person owns, including vehicles, homes or a retirement portfolio is considered to be part of a person's estate and may be passed to loved ones after the owner passes away.

Estate planning is the process of determining where and how property and assets are distributed after death. When a person fails to have a carefully, correctly drafted estate plan, all property and assets will be divided according to Michigan's intestacy laws. One of the initial steps of putting an estate plan in place is to draft a last will and testament. 

Legal support is needed for real estate litigation in Michigan

Litigation is often necessary to resolve a number of real estate disputes, especially when negotiations or other methods of conflict resolution prove to be unsuccessful. A wide variety of scenarios can lead to real estate litigation before a transaction is completed or even after a real estate deal unfolds. It is important for any Michigan resident in the middle of real estate litigation to have legal support when facing complications related to a transaction.

The specifics of a real estate transaction before it takes place can lead to litigation for a number of reasons. One example may be title disputes involving opposing claims to a property, which can stall a transaction or completely derail the deal. Zoning disputes with local authorities can also hold up plans to build or lease. A case involving zoning variances can significantly impact a major investment.

When exactly is a good time to update an estate plan?

Estate plans are highly personal endeavors. Because each Michigan family is different, there may not be an exact day or month that is appropriate for the updating of an estate plan. However, many leading experts agree there are specific life or family events that require updates be made to estate plans. They also suggest a certain time of year that may be appropriate for many people.

December and the other winter months may be a good time. One reason is that winter is the time of year when a lot of people get engaged, ready to take the next steps toward becoming couples by joining assets and future plans. There is also a rise in divorces after the December holidays, and divorce is always a definite reason to update any kind of established estate plan.

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